S) “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove and he and his disciples went into it” (John 18:1).
O) The warning and promise of John (16:33) is followed by Jesus’ longest prayer in the Gospels, (Jn. 17). Jesus prays for himself, for the eleven disciples and finishes by praying “for those who will believe in me through their message” (John 17:20). As soon as Jesus concludes his intercession he continues to walk out the plan sealed before the creation itself.
U) Intercession is the act of petitioning God or praying on behalf of another person or group. It is marked by selfless concern for the reconciliation of those separated from the Creator. I am one whose life was impacted by Jesus’ prayer, though it was spoken thousands of years ago. I am a sinner saved by grace. I once boasted, “Who needs God anyway?” To which I can only look back in shame. For a classic example of biblical intercession, see Abraham speaking to God in Genesis 18. In an incredible exchange, Abraham intercedes for the entire city of Sodom. “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?” Say, if only ten righteous people can be found? Or in what can only be described as sublime, Jesus on the Cross asks the Father to forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Who do you suppose is included in the “them” and the “they?”
L) I guess someone could make the case that this was all nothing but a colossal failure; after all Jesus did: the healing, the feeding and let’s not forget that he raised people from the dead. Surely if anyone could save himself it would be him. And in the next chapter those very words where directed to the Son of Man. Not everyone sees the passion of Christ, his arrest, his trial, his punishment and his death on the Cross as a victory. What the world fails to “see” is revealed in vs. 18:4 “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and . . . “ What unfolds from here on out can only be understood through the lens of faith; the gift of God in Christ Jesus. Lord, let us not miss the priority of intercession, the importance of obedience and the extravagant love on display as Jesus nears the Cross. Let us not somehow maneuver around the Cross with its gruesome wickedness, or try to avoid the discomfort that accompanies the conviction of sin or for any other reasons. Nor should we in any way leave Jesus on Roman Cross and deny the resurrection as some have been known to do. Rather, allow us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. And behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Bring us out into a spacious place from which we can pursue you Lord with the passion that took our place. In the Name of Jesus, amen